Series: The Trouble with Hating You, #2
Release Date: September 21st, 2021
CW/TW: Racism, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, scenes of miscarriage, bullying
Preeti never quite got over Daniel Thompson. Super-hot, plenty of swagger, amazing cook—the guy is practically perfect. And if it weren’t for their families, there might have been a happily ever after. But it’s hard to keep her sanity and libido in check when the man of her dreams is sleeping mere feet away.
Sajni Patel is slowly becoming a favourite. Between creating a world that I’m familiar with in a new way and writing characters that are so real and wonderful, her stories have captivated me. When I read The Trouble With Hating You, I ended up in a puddle of ugly tears because she tackled so many issues that Indian women (and women in general) face on a daily basis, but tied it in with supportive families, the best of friends and the kind of love that we all crave deep down in our souls. And then she announced that Preeti was getting her own book and I wept with joy!
Brace yourselves for an incredible story about forgiving yourself, growing up, fighting against bullies, supporting each other and falling in love. Because that’s exactly what First Love, Take Two is all about. And through Preeti and Daniel, we become so involved in the story of finding love in a familiar place while still battling demons that linger in the shadows.
Preeti Patel is a hardworking, determined and focused young woman who is well on her way to becoming a doctor. Her residency is taking up all of her time and between her friends getting married and falling in love, she’s found herself in this unhappy compromise with a man that was chosen by her parents. And when she has to find her own place to live after her roommate/best friend gets married, Preeti ends up sharing the space with the unlikeliest of people – the love of her life. Between fending off aunts that gossip and bully, working long hours and battling her anxiety; Preeti is stretched so thin she starts to fall apart. And the only person who is there to catch her is Daniel, even when he’s upset with how she crushed his heart and broke him apart six years ago.
First Love, Take Two is a second chance romance that you will absolutely devour once you get started. These characters are so wonderful too! I loved Preeti, I loved how passionate she was about her job, how important her family is and how much she cares for her friends. Preeti is, in so many ways, the perfect Indian daughter and her relationship with her parents show you that. While she keeps her anxiety and mental health struggles to herself (because Indian parents aren’t always accepting of these issues), her parents are aware of her touch aversion and her dislike for the community and the way they treated her friend Liya (from The Trouble with Hating You), Preeti is also putting everyone else in her life first. She loves so fiercely that it’s hard to let go of the things and the people that mean the most to her.
And then there’s Daniel…oh my god, he is so swoony! I really wish we got to see his side of things, but he was so wonderful! I loved that even though he’s so torn up and upset about the way Preeti ended things, his feelings for her haven’t changed. Daniel’s been her fiercest supporter and it’s clear in everything he does and says. He comes from an affluent Black family who has high expectations of him and he follows it as much as possible. However, the one thing he’s not willing to give up is Preeti, which becomes a big point of contention. The amount of love and affection Daniel has for Preeti blew my mind; he cooked for her, taught her how to cook, went out of his way to make her comfortable, showered her with affection even when she didn’t know how to handle it and more than anything, was there during every panic attack and moment of absolute helplessness.
Their relationship is so pure. Heart eyes the whole time. Because it’s a second chance romance following a really messy heartbreak, I was expecting there to be lots of angst and rage. But I loved that while some of that was there, it wasn’t the primary stage of their relationship. Their love for each other beats everything else and so when forced to live together because they both need somewhere to go, they work around the inconvenience and slowly get used to being around each other. I loved how Daniel teased Preeti for all the things that he’s known about her, how he made it hard for her to avoid him at all costs, but stepped aside when she needed the space. I loved that Preeti knew when Daniel needed her and when she needed to avoid him at the same time. When you’ve been together before, no matter how many years you’ve spent apart, the familiarity always wins and that’s exactly what happens with these two. And ugh, there is just SO much cute that my heart couldn’t handle!
Please take the content warnings seriously, because it can be hard for some. This book shattered me and stitched me back together with every page I turned. I have so much love for Sajni Patel’s storytelling and the topics she chooses to address, because even though the various points of conflict were sometimes hard to read, it was handled with grace. I cannot wait to read more of Sajni’s books, because I am now a fan for life.
Thanks to Sajni Patel & Forever for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.